Friday, 11 November 2016

This Hako Pair Perfectly Defines the Hot Wheels/Matchbox Dichotomy...

Okay, maybe my title is a little too philosophical. These are 1$ toys for 5 year olds (and 50 year olds) after all. However, since Mattel acquired the Matchbox brand it's been tough to figure out how orange and blue complement each other. We all now how Hot Wheels does it for licensed models. Take a Mustang, Corvette, Skyline or BMW and 'soup it up'. Hot Wheels has been about the 'custom look' since 1968. Matchbox, on the other hand tends to do its licensed models in a 'stock look'.

The recent Matchbox '71 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-X and Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-X really illustrate how the two Mattel diecast brands can (and should) reproduce the same car differently. The Matchbox gets the bone stock look. No body work has been done, the 'surf lines' are still there and the ride height is stock. It's a pure civilian machine. Conversely, the Hot Wheels gets a roll cage, lowered stance, big fender flares and body work to remove the surf lines.

Basically, the Hot Wheels Hako is a racing car, or a crazily tuned up street car while the Matchbox is a bone stock, fresh-of-the-lot 1971 Nissan Skyline. I like the dichotomy. There's no point in Matchbox doing the same car as Hot Wheels (and vice versa) unless there's a clear purpose for each. In the case of these two Hakos, each car has a clear purpose. Racing cars, custom cars and souped up cars are great. But so are perfectly stock replicas. Both the Hot Wheels and the Matchbox Hako castings work well and fill distinct roles in the Mattel pantheon.

I'd be amiss if I didn't quickly mention the execution of the Matchbox Hako as I haven't yet reviewed it. I really like the new Matchbox Skyline. My only complaint is that the casting is too narrow. I find this problem pops up on a few otherwise excellent Matchbox castings. Otherwise, the details on the front grille, the hood mirrors, the taillight details and surf lines are perfect. The details are where the Matchbox shines. In terms of proportions, the Hot Wheels' width and length are its strong points.

Enjoy the Photos!

Happy Collecting!!

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